Why I Don't Want to Look You in the Eyes

Monday, September 29, 2014

I don't want to look you in the eyes. I feel like if I look you in the eyes you will notice how bad my acne is right now. It's not reasonable, regardless you can see it. I can try and cover it with as much make up as I want but the angry bumps are not concealable.

What I'm going to do now is open up about something not many people want to talk about... let alone post for everyone to see. But I feel it's something I need to do to promote understanding.

I ENVY those who have never had to deal with acne. I would do anything to get rid of my acne: I've been on birth control to try and stabilize my hormones (for almost 7 years at one point), I've taken all the antibiotics there are to take, I've spent 90 dollars a month for facials, I've tried all the topical acne medications, I've tried proactive, I've bought the $150 dollar clarisonic brush, I've cleaned up my diet, I've drank tons of water and cut out bad sodas, and for your last question yes I've tried coconut oil. None of it works.

I was talking with my mother-in-law the other day about it, trying to explain to her what it was like because she has never had acne her whole life (lucky girl). She brought up the point I'd probably rather gain weight than have acne, she hit it right on the head. At least if I gained weight I could wear baggy clothes... there is no getting away from acne! It's like cancer of the skin... there is no cure.

It is... depressing. When it's bad I don't even want to leave the house. I want to stay inside where no one can see it. I have no control of it. If there was something I could do to stop it, trust me I would. It's not only depressing but if it's the cystic acne it physically hurts... a lot!

Part of the reason I write this is so my words can help some people understand what it's like to go through this. The other day (before my acne had flared up bad) I heard someone say that acne was caused by being dirty. HA! Being dirty! Trust me... If I had to wash my face one hundred times a day to get rid of this acne I most certainly would.

Another time when my acne was bad was my freshman year in college (and I mean bad). I would wear hoodies with the hood up in an effort to cover my acne up. I was depressed, I never wanted to leave my dorm room. None of my other roommates had this problem. One roommate was trying to point out to me that she had acne because she had one (ONE) zit on her face and she said it made her feel ugly, it made me wonder what she thought of mine when she saw my face-- it made me want to cry.

The worst part is it's genetic. My brother has suffered from acne as well. We've tried everything, and when one person in the family is really suffering through acne it's a stress for the whole family. The thing that sucks about being a guy with acne is that you cant try and cover it up with make up either.

My brother did Accutane and it cleared it up quite a bit for him. I don't dare doing it, especially now that I'm married and sexually active because it's known to cause problems with fetuses. I'd rather suffer through acne.

When you see people with acne, please don't judge them. Don't think they're "dirty". Chances are they are so self conscious about it they don't even want you to look at them.

I know eventually my acne will clear up and will become a thing of the past... I'm looking forward to it. I've done some research and think that caffeine may be causing my acne to flare up right now so the month of October I'm going to go cold turkey on caffeine to see if it helps.

If you haven't suffered from acne, count your many blessings. If you have, please tell me what has helped you! I'm open to trying more alternative methods at this point, anything! I know most people don't want to talk about acne if they have it. The reason I am is because I hope that someone will find comfort in my words and realize they're not the only one going through this problem. You're not alone! We'll get through this homie G ;)

Please let me know what has helped you in the comment section below!

XOXO Britney


  1. I used to have horrible acne in high school. I pretty much did everything on your list including birth control while being that young. Everything seemed like a dead end. I even had my entire face freezed dried (like how they remove a wart), and it was the most awful thing in the world! The game changer for me was sulfur. My dermatologist prescribed me a face wash and face lotion that contained sulfur in it. They were very mild as well. I'm not sure if you've ever tried it or not but it seemed to be an answer for me when everything else seemed like a dead end. Hope this is helpful!

  2. I had cystic acne behind my ears and all over my face. And recently my chest. I tried all the dermatologist recommended. None of it worked! I had my dermatologist on speed dial! Some type of direction injection into the cyst would help it disappear. But I ended up trying acutane, after being on it for a year I saw major results. That was all before marriage. I would reccomend trying actutane when you are done having kids. I know if my acne ever flares up to that horrible degree again I will give acutane another go.

  3. I have been on both sides! In high school breaking out for me was 3 zits. I was horrible at washing my face each night and didn't know you're supposed to each morning! For the last 10 years since I've graduated I have had AWFUL AWFUL break outs and being a cosmetologist made it that much worse. I hated going to work having people stare at me in the mirror probably thinking how awful my face was. Even now I have moments of breaking out especially since I've had baby #2 with those lovely hormones. One thing that has actually helped me recently though is the Clear Proof line from Mary Kay. I've loved it so much I decided to sign up and start selling here and there since I like their make up anyways. So if you ever want to give it a try let me know. Wish you best of luck. You're beautiful inside and out

  4. I have always had bad acne, too. After my first kid it got out of control, and someone recommended an allergy blood test. It turns out I had food sensitivities. Nothing enough to cause anaphylactic shock, but enough for my body to freak out from eating certain foods. Now my skin is relatively clear, minus only a handful of bumps. Good luck!

  5. I've suffered from cycstic acne as well, which is really embarassing when you're close to 30! I tried the Clarisonic, Sheseido, facials, sulfur, I've had allergy test done (I have Celiac and an allergy to Baker's Yeast, but avoiding them has done nothing to clear my skin). Birth control helped mildly, but the dermatologist put me on Epiduo (topical) and prescribed Avarcleanser to wash my face (and body) with. The combination of those things made a huge difference. Unfortunately, I've had to go off of everything while we try to get pregnant and now it's flared up badly. My dermatologist told me that my skin was sensitive and to stop using the Clarisonic and use gentle products which I have found to help a bit. Good luck!

  6. I feel your pain, Britney. I have suffered with acne since my teens but (thankfully) at the moment *touch wood* I'm going through a clear phase. The only thing that cured it for me was birth control. I was put on Dianette and had the most amazing skin after about 4 months (the time it took my spots to disappear and my skin to heal) just in time for my wedding. I came off Dianette because after a while it dried my skin out too much and I was constantly itching. I'm now on a pill called Yasmin and so far, the worse 'breakout' I've had is three or four spots at one time, which is nothing in my book! I know you said you've tried birth control so I know my experience won't help you any but I want you to know you're not alone and that I am hoping and wishing you find the 'cure' for you. I almost wish every single person could experience the embarrassment and shame of acne for a week of their lives, so that they could be more sympathetic to those that do suffer - oh and I also have a friend who thinks one spot makes them ugly and it makes me want to smash their face into a wall, but so far I've managed to restrain myself :) Please keep us updated, esp on the caffeine front because I do think it has a massive effect on my skin, as does sugar. Good luck x

  7. I had the same problem in my teens and early 20's. Now I wear vitamin E cream (all day) and especially under my makeup. I never put makeup on my bare skin. You can get it at any heath store. Hope it helps you. I tried all kinds of stuff before that, birth control, Proactiv, medicated creams and nothing helped until the Vitamin E.

  8. This post makes me sad yet slightly comforted. I've dealt with acne since about 6th grade...and it's not fun. During my pregnancy my skin actually cleared up (WHAT!) and now 11 months after my baby was born, it seems to be coming back...and it's bringing friends for my upper back as well. huge bummer. I tried accutane in college, have always been on birth control, did all of the tetracyclines, clindamyacin, proactive, diet changes, face/body wash changes, laundry detergent changes, you name it. I've endured some bouts of cystic acne so agonizing that I have gone so far as to put fingernail polish remover (cringeeeeee) on the zit in desperate hopes that it helps kill everything in my skin. I know how awful that is, yet some times i genuinely lose my mind over these painful zits and would do anything to help get rid of them. that being said, i haven't used the nail polish remover tactic since finding Kate Sommerville's EradiKate. It contains sulfur and the smell is pretty brutal, but it really helps to dry out and control the blemish (bullseye!) before it takes over my life...I mean face. Just dab it on and let it seep into your pores over night. The zit is typically, mostly cleared up if not completely by morning. I only use it when I have a mega-zit coming in here or there, so a little bottle lasts a long time. My fiancé has also used it and it worked well on him too.

    Acne is a super crappy, no matter how you slice it. It is embarrassing, depressing, and I have absolutely cried countless tears (more so in high school than the last ten years) over the fact that I have felt like it's ruined my life (which, it hasn't). I guess as I get older, I try to look at it as though it's a good reminder to be compassionate and non-judgmental with people because we all face struggles, no matter how superficial.

    nice post - I wish you all the best in your continued journey for fresher skin.

    (PS-have you tried Bare Mineral makeup? I made the switch and experienced a noticeable improvement as well!)

  9. I can definitely relate to this post and thanks so much for being brave enough to share! I am all too familiar with not being comfortable looking directly at people during a bad break out.
    I also tried everything over the years short of Accutane for the same reason you mentioned.

    It wasn't until several years ago my derm finally referred me to an endocrinologist who prescribed spironolactone to me. It was a miracle pill and I've recommended it to so many people.

    Totally balanced my hormones and made my skin baby soft and clear. I finally became one of those girls who felt she was breaking out with 'just one pimple" on the rare occasions I got one. I was also on birth control, it all did the trick for me. And spiro is a diuretic so that cured my occasional swollen ankles as well. Since it was first prescribed to me, its become much more prevalent and eventually my regular OBGYN was giving me a script at my yearly visits.

    If you haven't tried it already, it could be worth a discussion with your doc? Good luck and thank you again for being so open and honest.

  10. I struggled with the same problem for years! I had super painful cysts that were almost impossible to clear up (I tried everything too). I finally figured out a fix though that is luckily super cheap and easy… $1 bar of ivory soap. Sounds too easy but it cleared it all up! I also love my clarisonic with it! Too cheap not to try!

    1. I also use a cheap generic moisturizer now. Don't worry this won't dry out your skin like people will claim.

  11. Try rubbing apple cidee vinagar it will say the mother. It has to be that one. Wash face then with a cotton ball run i. All over like a toner then let it set and get coconut oil and use that as ur moisturiser. Read about both to understand why they help, they do wonders for me

  12. Been there! Except mine was on my chin and looked like I had a huge rash. It was awful, I hated leaving the house. Like you, I tried many things but never wanted to take accutane because of the same reason. One product I have tried that has definitely helped to improve my skin is this tee tree and e antiseptic creme! Give it a try, I order mine from Amazon. I hope you find a solution, acne sucks.


  13. I can definitely relate to this post and thanks so much for being brave enough to share.

    I suffered with acne before I went to University. It affected my self-esteem and my outlook on life in general. With my self-confidence decreasing each day I eventually made an appointment with a private dermatologist who prescribed me isotretinoin – it cleared up my acne and gave me a new lease on life.

    I do get a few pimples often – but nothing like before – although it does get me down at times, esp with the scaring they leave behind. I have found washing my face with PH balance feminine wash (Femfresh Intimate Hygiene Daily Intimate Wash to be exact) I know it sounds a little odd - my friend’s doctor recommended this for her, and also sudocrem at night (without rubbing it in, just place a medium amount on the pimple). It has done wonders for my skin.

    I tend to change my skin routine around a lot – I’ve actually ordered IS Clinical Cleansing Complex, it’s a bit pricy but it has amazing reviews – hopefully this will works for me.

    It sounds like you have tired a lot of things to clear up your acne. Please keep us updated, esp on the Zeo-caffeine month because I do think it has a massive effect on my skin, as does sugar and milk. Good luck.

  14. I feel for you! I read online that cutting out dairy can fix acne. I tried it and it actually worked (for me).
    Apparently it's the hormones in the milk that mess with our own hormones.
    Here's an article and there's lots more about it online if you google acne dairy

  15. I too have suffered from acne and I've found that none of the chemical treatments worked for me either. I now wash my face with honey and baking soda (mix together to form a paste and gently rub on your face like a mask), tone with witch hazel right after washing and moisturize with olive oil right after the witch hazel. Hope you find something soon that works for you, hang in there!

  16. I have had to deal with acne my whole life! I even went on Accutane when I was 17. I would never do that again! I have been using essential oils and love them! There is one for acne and I even make my own face wash. Everything is natural and no harsh chemicals. I have very oily skin and it has taken the sheen out of my face. I wash with oil (seems weird but it works) and don't have to apply moisturizer due to this. I get to skip one step in my face regimen and that is a plus in the mommy world. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

  17. Try ceramide pills/creams! It's the only real moisture for our skin that our bodies actually understand! (Kinda gross, but it's the white stuff on babies when they are born!) try the brand Dr. Jart! I love it and it works well for me!

  18. I follow you on instagram and another girl I follow has cystic acne issues. She recently posted about it and found something that has been helping her. Her IG name is erin_morgan if you wanted to find her post. I hope it helps, I feel for you. :/ Take care.

  19. I can totally relate! I have also tried EVERYTHING (except Accutane for similar reasons to yours) & often felt like no one understands. At it's worst, my acne was about four times what your picture shows & more red. So many people have tried to offer "advice" over the years, whether I wanted it or not... I know they wanted to help, but it always made me feel worse because it confirmed my worst fear: how much they noticed. I think there's a three year span in which I do not have one picture of myself, because I hated the way I looked. One thing I know is that my acne comes from within & treating it from the surface does little to no good.

    I've been on & off the Paleo diet for about two years, and when I'm sticking to it my acne diminishes greatly. The cystic pimples stop forming, but the scarring is the real kicker because it's going to take a lot longer to heal! Paleo is so restrictive that it is impossible to maintain all the time, but for the most part I avoid gluten and refined sugars, or just too much sugar. Basically--if I go to a restaurant-- I'm ordering salad with grilled chicken. I allow myself to eat dessert, but I try to stick with a gluten free option like ice cream & I eat SO much dark chocolate in a week, it's ridiculous! I also stick to drinking water or tea only! I've been doing this for so long now, it doesn't really feel like I'm "missing out" anymore. There's this thing called the "Whole 30" on paleo, which is basically 30 days of torture that ends in weight loss, clearer skin, and EYE OPENING knowledge.. I'd recommend trying it, but I'm not promising it's easy.

    Indulging in a slice of cake once in awhile or on pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving doesn't do too much damage, but if I go a few consecutive days on the Standard American Diet, the cystic stuff starts popping up all over again. Otherwise, I try to manage my stress and get enough sleep, because I think that helps, too!

    As far as skin care goes, I wear makeup everyday to hide the scarring. As moisturizer, I literally splash my face with water and put a thin layer of foundation on while my skin is wet, then another layer once it's dry-ish. At night, I wash it all off gently with warm water and a washcloth. I've gotten freaked out of putting chemicals on my face b/c they never seemed to help, and neither did the "natural" stuff. I tried the oil cleansing method at one point, and regardless of how much I wanted that to work, my skin got so much WORSE. I don't feel like all the makeup comes off with just the washcloth, so I use my Clarisonic (oh yeah, I was totally duped into buying one, too) afterwards without any cleanser to help exfoliate & get more of the makeup off. Bragg's apple cider vinegar is actually a good toner that doesn't harm my face.. it just stinks & kinda burns! I think pure aloe would be great for moisturizing at night, but I'd have to scrape it out of an aloe plant to get what I want, and those aren't always available for sale. (How crazy do I sound!? I've totally been through four small aloe plants. They go so fast and the gel is hard to store without it turning gross & brown!) LOL. I admit my skin care routine is kinda kooky & my skin still isn't where I want it to be, but I haven't thought of what to try next yet ;)

    Sorry this is so long, but I've totally been where you are, so I wanted to share my story! I hope you find some relief from this. And one last thing -- you really ARE BEAUTIFUL & your acne does not define you, even if it feels that way right now.

  20. Hi I can't actually recommend this product as I've not used it. But we've used this company's eczema products with huge success. https://www.salcuraskincare.com/acne/ A brand we trust.

  21. Mega dosing on Pantothenic Acid. Google it and you'll find tons of info. It's natural and you can't over dose on it and it's safe to use while pregnant. I had terrible cystic acne since I was 13. I don't have a single picture of me from high school or college. When I discovered pantothenic acid it took a couple months to see a difference but once it really started working I couldn't believe it. My face was no longer an oil slick an hour after washing it and the painful cysts went away. It is the best thing that I've ever done for myself.

  22. I found cutting out dairy and gluten really helped.


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